The BJP’s hard won victory in Goa was marked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting the top team of partymen who contributed to it last week. While acting Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, state BJP president Sadanand Shet Tanavde, BJP general secretary in charge of Goa, C. T. Ravi were in the frame and known to many, an important presence was that of Satish Dhond, BJP organization secretary in Goa.
Mr. Dhond, low profile is being credited with executing the deft social engineering of amalgamating OBCs, the Maratha and Bhandari community support to the BJP after years of being led the Gowd Saraswat Brahmin community. A change over he executed in the absence of Goa BJP’s most important leader Manohar Parrikar to register a handsome victory for the party.
“BJP winning 20 seats in the Goa Assembly is an astounding feat and while many only look at the division of votes of the Congress by Trinamool Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the fact is that the shift in vote base from GSB to more of Maratha, Bhandary and Bahujan Samaj has been significant and helped us when we lost our most powerful leader Manohar Parikkar,” said a senior Goa BJP office bearer.
Mr. Dhond, in the fashion of most organization secretaries and general secretaries of the BJP is a behind the scenes man and a firm RSS apparachtik. Mr Dhond occupies a small office in the BJP Goa headquarters, right next to where the press room is, his family has a horticultural farm Pirna village in Bichaulim and he lives very simply.
He was party of the cohort group of leaders like late Mr. Parikkar, Shripad Naik and Laxmikant Parsekar who were responsible for the rise of the BJP. While he and Mr. Parikkar were considered very close, sometime during the latter’s 2012 tenure, the two fell out, and the RSS deputed him to Thane and Konkan for organizational work.
When Mr. Parikkar fell ill, Mr. Dhond was recalled to bolster the organization in the face of such a loss. He recognized quickly enough that BJP needed a broad base and fast. Thus, Mr. Sawant, a Maratha was chosen as chief minister and Sadanand Shet Tanavde was made party chief, and leaders like Dayanand Sopte who was earlier in the Congress, from the Bhandari community, accommodated.
In fact, TMC MP Mohua Moitra, in charge of her party in Goa accused Mr. Dhond of running interference in the state government and even sitting in on government meetings. While that is yet to be verified, Mr. Dhond, with the victory of the BJP in Goa, has made it to that interesting line up of RSS men who orchestrate social engineering feats like K N Govindacharya and B L Santhosh.